/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Photos: Performance testing at Laguna Seca

On the second day of the 2008 Western Automotive Journalists Media Days, we drove a variety of cars at Laguna Seca. This famous track employs a number of technical turns, not to mention a quarter mile straightaway, for testing handling and acceleration.

cnet.png
CNET Reviews staff
WAJ_TRACK01_440.jpg
1 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
A number of manufacturers brought their cars to the track. Here they are waiting in the paddock for the track to open. The Maserati MC12 sits up front, a two-seater built on the Ferrari Enzo platform and powered by a 6-liter V-12. It is one of 30 built.
WAJ_TRACK02_440.jpg
2 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The MC 12 screams past the pit lane piloted by race driver Derek Hill, giving his 81-year-old father Phil a ride. Phil Hill is the only American-born driver to win the Formula One Championship.
WAJ_TRACK08_440.jpg
3 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The Mini Cooper S, though not as fast as the Subaru WRX STI following it, handles well on the track.
WAJ_TRACK14_440.jpg
4 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, even with the Cabriolet top, is a car made for the track. Its rear engine and all-wheel drive make it handle much differently than a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car.
WAJ_TRACK12_440.jpg
5 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
These three cars, a Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, and BMW M3, get a chance to pour on the power going up the hill.
WAJ_TRACK04_440.jpg
6 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The corkscrew is famous for its sharp left turn followed by an elevation drop and a quick right turn. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X heads into the second turn as the Dodge Viper aims itself down the hill.
WAJ_TRACK05_440.jpg
7 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
A Roush Mustang is just hitting the second turn, followed closely by a Nissan 350Z NISMO. Both cars feature track tuning and equipment.
WAJ_TRACK06_440.jpg
8 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The new Dodge Challenger SRT comes out of the second turn of the corkscrew, while an Audi S5 sets up for the approach.
WAJ_TRACK07_440.jpg
9 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
Mercedes-Benz's latest AMG-tuned car, the C63, hits the apex at the second turn on the corkscrew. This car features a 6.3-liter V-8 naturally aspirated engine putting out 457 horsepower. Its suspension is tuned to handle these corners.
WAJ_TRACK15_440.jpg
10 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The Audi R8 tears down the track. Its 420-horsepower engine gives it plenty of thrust through the straightaways and coming out of the turns. Its Quattro all-wheel drive and magnetic damping keep it firmly grounded.
WAJ_TRACK09_440.jpg
11 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
A Suzuki SX4 loaded with aftermarket equipment, such as a turbocharger and a carbon fiber hood, sprints up the hill, followed by the Mercedes-Benz C350, a very capable car on the track.
WAJ_TRACK10_440.jpg
12 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
Demonstrating the variety of cars on the track, here's a Porsche Cayenne, a Cadillac CTS, and a Jaguar XKR.
WAJ_TRACK11_440.jpg
13 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The BMW 135i, which proved a favorite of journalists at the track, cuts towards the apex, while the Dodge Viper sets up for its approach.
WAJ_TRACK13_440.jpg
14 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The Mazda RX-8 heads across the apex on the turn, with the Audi S5 coming quickly after.
WAJ_TRACK16_440.jpg
15 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
This BMW M3 features the new double-clutch transmission, along with the M3's superb array of handling and engine electronics. The transmission is amazing, offering quick shifts through seven gears.
WAJ_TRACK17_440.jpg
16 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
Journalists put three minis, a Cooper, a Clubman, and a Clubman S, through their paces on an auto cross course in the parking lot. This course involved tight turns and a slalom, all generally run in second gear.
WAJ_TRACK18_440.jpg
17 of 17 Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The front tires of the Mini Cooper spin as the driver puts on the power, letting out a high-pitched shriek and the smell of burnt rubber.

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos
2022 Bentley Bentayga S is sporty and serene

More Galleries

2022 Bentley Bentayga S is sporty and serene

40 Photos
The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

More Galleries

The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

8 Photos